Worldwide Produce Brand Achieves Major Productivity Gains and Cost Savings
Faced with excessive material expenses, downtime, and waste due to coding errors, and a critical lack of after-sales support, Calavo Growers turned to Matthews Marking Systems to increase efficiency and decrease costs.
Founded in 1924, Calavo Growers has a long history of innovation. They were instrumental in pioneering California’s avocado industry. Today, after almost 100 years in the business, they continue to lead. The company’s high-volume packing facility in Santa Paula, CA was using a standard Product Traceability Initiative (PTI) labeling solution that was costly in terms of operational expenses and risks. By implementing Matthews Marking System’s automated and centralized MPERIA® marking and coding solution with thermal inkjet (TIJ) technology, Calavo was able to achieve:
+ MAJOR COST REDUCTION, both material and maintenance
+ INCREASED EFFICIENCY, due to automation and centralized control
+ STRONGER SECURITY via tiered user access
+ PEACE OF MIND with excellent after-sales support
+ EXCELLENT ROI — <1 year for the solution to pay for itself
Calavo Growers’ ships 12 million boxes of avocados annually. Built in 1974, the company’s 53,000-square-foot Santa Paula facility contains 23 production lines and has served multiple purposes over the decades.
“Our previous marking solution was very expensive and completely lacking in after-sales support,” explains Joseph Malagone, Operations Manager at the plant. Repeated mislabeling issues resulted in production downtime, waste, and additional expenses to replace materials and product; a new solution was needed. “Data integration issues were not uncommon,” says Malagone, “And—unfortunately—when they cropped up there was no one we could call to help us sort out technical problems.” Without vendor support, Malagone was forced to rely on third-party providers, complicating the process while increasing operational costs. In short, the traditional PTI labeling solution was costing Malagone and his team time, money, and aggravation on an almost daily basis. They needed a more advanced solution that used technology to streamline the marking process; and they needed a reliable and responsive support team to help ensure everything was running smoothly.
The Matthews team conducted a thorough analysis of Calavo’s facility and needs, resulting in the recommendation of the MPERIA®️ platform with TIJ technology. An incredibly successful demo convinced the folks at Calavo Growers just how easily the solution could be implemented. MPERIA is the only universal marking and coding automation platform that works with virtually any hardware or software. Its impressive flexibility makes it the ideal solution in a wide variety of environments and scenarios. MPERIA also allows for the centralization of the marking process, simplifying initial setup and making it easy to scale the operation for growth. The system enables consolidated control over all marking and coding—whether from the factory floor or the production manager’s office—across primary, secondary, and tertiary lines. Malagone was particularly impressed with MPERIA’s fast and easy integration. “It only took four days to install and commission the system,” he says, “And we didn’t have to change a thing. After a very successful demo, we were able to easily integrate with our existing roller conveyor. We didn’t even have to adjust our box design. Everything came together seamlessly to deliver a GTIN barcode readable rate of 100%. We were really impressed.”
The final solution included 22 L50 Printheads with TIJ technology and one MPERIA Standard Controller. This configuration allowed Calavo to put an individual printhead on each drop line—a creative idea that wasn’t possible with their old labeling solution. This innovation eliminated 100% of data integration errors as each drop line managed its own PTI coding information—no more camera system required for variable box sizes on the main conveyor line. At the end of the day, it wasn’t just the technological aspect of the solution that convinced Malagone that Matthews was the right partner. “We also chose Matthews because they are an extremely reputable and reliable coding solution company with a long, trackable history,” he explains. “Being almost 100-years-old ourselves, we value history and reliability.”
MAJOR REDUCTION IN COSTS: By transitioning from a labeling solution to direct print and eliminating the need for costly label materials, Calavo was able to instantly reduce overall costs to about one-fifth of what they had previously been paying. Also, because the cartridge-based system reduced maintenance issues to virtually nothing, Calavo was able to eliminate what had previously been regular, ongoing maintenance costs.
INCREASED EFFICIENCY: The MPERIA system’s full automation combined with the elimination of labels meant line workers no longer needed to hand apply PTI codes. This allowed Malagone to reallocate resources to more profitable and productive tasks. It also takes the operations team much less time to manage changes and updates due to the centralized system.
STRONGER SECURITY: The MPERIA system enables different levels of user access to guard against accidental setting changes that could create errors or otherwise jeopardize productivity.
PEACE OF MIND: Right out of the gate, Malagone had high confidence in the MPERIA solution, but he was further reassured by Matthews’ expertise and responsiveness. “We’re extremely happy with the total, professional service from the Matthews team. From the very beginning of the proposal process to the demo and installation to the training and after-sales support, the entire experience has exceeded our expectations,” he says. “We are grateful to have a partner who is always looking out
for us and thinking about how to save us time and money.”
EXCELLENT ROI: After assessing all the benefits of the new Matthews system, Malagone estimates that it will take less than a year for the MPERIA solution to pay for itself. “We are so pleased overall with the product, the experience, and the service,” Malagone says, “That we can’t wait to implement the MPERIA system in our larger facility in Uruapan, Mexico next year.”